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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Vermeer

Part 6 of 7: Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center secures motorized-focused sweepstakes grant for weather station upgrades  

Updated: Jun 20

Annual Avalanche Alliance sweepstakes benefits motorized community, rider safety


The 2022 Avalanche Alliance sweepstakes provided seven grants ranging from $2,100 to $10,000 to national Avalanche Centers in support of motorized-focused projects and programs to improve motorized snow safety. 


This seven-part series details what’s happening at Avalanche Centers across the country and how the sweepstakes is strengthening the motorized snowsports community's connection with Avalanche Centers by supporting the work they are doing for snowmobilers, snowbikers and more.  



Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center - Teton Village, Wyoming 

Grant amount: $2,100


For the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center in Teton Village, Wyoming, this year’s $2,100 sweepstakes grant provided upgrades the Mt. Coffin and Mt. Deadman weather stations for forecasting avalanche data


The BTAC creates forecasts for there separate zones around Wyoming, Salt and Snake River Mountain ranges, including Togwotee Pass, the Tetons and Greys River – nearly 7,000 square miles for motorized exploration.


“There’s big avalanche terrain there with the potential for big and deadly avalanches,” said BTAC Director, Frank Carus, “So we really want to be diligent about accurately tracking precipitation, wind and temperature data in that zone.” 


The weather station on top of Mount Coffin at 10,870 feet in the Bridger-Teton National Forest has been damaged and even blown away by high winds, Carus added. 



“The wind’s done all kinds of damage to the anenometer,” Carus said of the instrument used to measure wind speed and pressure. “These things are built to withstand hurricane force winds, but winds on Mount Coffin exceed hurricane force sometimes.”


As a result of this year’s grant, the center replaced the damaged anemometer on Mount Coffin,  which will substantially improve information for the motorized community when assessing travel in the Wyoming and Salt River ranges. 



Without accurate wind data, it becomes difficult to forecast wind loading – a crucial cause of avalanches. 


“High winds can increase the danger level pretty quickly and just create a general avalanche hazard to snowmobile riders in the Salt River and Wyoming ranges,” Carus said. “Wind data is critical because wind is the architect of avalanches. If snow if the building material, wind is the architect.” 


Previous Avalanche Alliance sweepstakes grants provided upgrades to the center’s website and created a more user-friendly observation platform for the public. 


“With that upgrade, we’ve definitely seen a significant uptick in submitted observations,” Carus said. “Financial support goes a long way to help us complete our mission, which is getting as much avalanche information into the hands of people going out and potentially engaging in avalanche terrain, so it’s huge.” 



Carus said the center also relies on professional snowmobilers who submit observations and report what’s going on in certain zones. 


“It’s awesome to see more snowmobilers become avalanche instructors and take on a new professional approach to education and training and mitigating risks in the backcountry and sharing that with other people,” Carus said. “That engagement from riders is tremendous.” 



Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center



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The 2023 Avalanche Alliance Sweepstakes, which closed December 10, 2023, featured a customized grand prize 2023 Polaris Patriot Boost RMK Khaos Slash 165 2.75" upgraded with a custom ArcticFX Graphics wrap, IceAge Performance Rails, HELLFIRE wheels, STRYKER A-Arms and ELEVATE spindles, SLP MoHawk skis, head, silencer and clutch kit, ZRP master cylinder cover, a lightweight rotor, titanium bolt kit and billet steering post, Pro Armor Bumpers, Exit shocks, Zbroz pull handle, Zbroz stirrups and Seat Concepts seat. First, second and third prizes include a Marlon Xplore PRO II sled deck, KLIM head-to-toe winter package, an Arctic Cat ZR 200 and an Ortovox safety package. 


Now in its fourth year, the Avalanche Alliance sweepstakes unites snowmobilers, snowbikers, manufacturers, avalanche centers and riders in a collective effort to endorse avalanche safety initiatives. Proceeds from the 2023 sweepstakes will be awarded to Avalanche Centers in support of motorized-focused programs with the goal to join forces and raise funds for avalanche education scholarships while expanding avalanche forecasts in popular motorized areas across the nation. 


For more info on the Avalanche Alliance, visit: avalanche-alliance.org


About Avalanche Alliance

Avalanche Alliance’s mission is to raise avalanche awareness and improve backcountry safety for motorized users. With a full spectrum of focuses ranging from sponsoring beacon check stations to supporting avalanche educators, Avalanche Alliance is at the forefront of avalanche safety improvement. For more information, visit avalanche-alliance.org.


About AIARE

AIARE was established in 1998 as a nonprofit educational organization to address the need for a nationally recognized curriculum for avalanche education in the USA. Since that time AIARE has developed research-based Professional and Recreational avalanche training for backcountry users in the United States, South America and Europe. AIARE’s Recreational Program is represented by over 115 course providers and650 AIARE-trained instructors; the Professional Program designs and instructs workplace safety training for professionals working in the avalanche industry. Through these programs, AIARE educates over 19,000 students annually. 


In 2017, AIARE created an official Motorized Program aimed to increase educational resources, participation and awareness in the motorized community. Working alongside experts in the snowmobile community, we’ve trained 48 snowmobilers to professional instructor standards, and separately 52 have received professional certificates to date. AIARE’s created motorized-specific training for recreational users is available across the US west.


AIARE’s partnership with the Live Large University (LLU) scholarship fund is intended to support motorized backcountry riders. While AIARE has a robust network of 115 providers in the US, currently 9 providers exclusively teach motorized-specific programming. The Live Large University scholarship’s goal is to increase the number of trained motorized professionals, improving the AIARE network's ability to  serve the motorized community. The LLU fund awards full and partial scholarships to students taking AIARE Motorized Recreational Courses, PRO 1, PRO 2 and Instructor Training Courses. For more information, visit avtraining.org.


About KLIM

KLIM Technical Riding Gear is a global leader in designing, developing, sourcing and distributing the most advanced powersports apparel for snowmobile, motorcycle and off-road riding. Utilizing the world’s most premium technologies in waterproof, breathable, durable and comfortable materials, KLIM offers gear for the most demanding riders. Driven by the continual feedback and input from dedicated test pilots and passionate customers, KLIM strives to do one thing above all – enhance the riding experience. For more information, visit KLIM.com.


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